and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following
confirmation this week that a young peregrine falcon found dead at a quarry
near Buckfastleigh had residues of both carbofuran and aldicarb. These banned
pesticides are suspected to have contributed to the bird’s death.
brings to eight the number of birds of prey killed in poisonings this year in
the West Country. In March four goshawks and a buzzard were found dead to the
west of Exeter and in July two peregrines were found near St Just in Cornwall.
bird, a young female peregrine, was found by environmental consultants from URS
Scott Wilson at
Whitecleaves Quarry near Buckfastleigh on 21 July. Peregrines at
this site have been targeted previously, with dead birds found in 2005, 2004
and 1992. On each occasion the birds had been poisoned.
the discovery, Natural England‘s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) was
notified and began an investigation. The body was sent for analysis and it was
confirmed last week that both had residues of the banned substances aldicarb
and carbofuran. The latter was also identified in the previous cases this year.
conservationists have mounting concern over the presence of these chemicals in
the wider countryside.
Lakin, Natural England’s Wildlife Adviser in Devon said: “Peregrine falcons
have suffered from illegal poisoning in Devon for 20 years – often tricked into
consuming poisoned ‘live bait.’ The poison which we have seen used in many of
these cases was banned more than a decade ago and it can be potentially as
dangerous to the public, children and pets as it is to birds of prey.
treat such incidents seriously and will continue our work with other agencies
under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme, with the main objective of
stopping illegal persecution and prosecuting people responsible for these
Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the South West said; “I was truly
shocked to see the images of the dead bird.
at this site have a long history of persecution. In 2005 a bird was found dead
on the body of a pigeon. The pigeon had its wings purposely clipped and it had
been doused with poison. In 2004 a peregrine was found dead near to a pigeon
spiked with the poison malathion. And in July 1992 a peregrine was found dead
alongside another pigeon similarly treated with malathion.
has been a truly awful year for birds of prey in the West Country. Whatever the
motives of the people that carry out these deliberate acts, we must not forget
that they are nothing more than common criminals. They show no regard for these
magnificent and much loved birds of prey and also show little regard for the
safety of people and their pets walking in the countryside. This needs to be
Marshall, Wildlife Crime Officer in Devon said: “This strikes a chord with me
as I visited the site this year and watched the birds at the site while the
female was incubating.
bird of prey persecution is continuing to be a major problem, particularly this
year in the south west and in Devon. In terms of wildlife crime, we welcome the
fact that bird of prey persecution has been identified as a key priority for
wildlife crime enforcement. Investigations can be complex and are often
initially out of the public eye until analysis results are obtained, then as in
the case, we frequently appeal for anyone with information to come forward to
assist with our enquiries.”
guilty of an offence against birds of prey can be liable to a fine of up to
£5000 (per offence) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or
anyone has information regarding this they can call 101 quoting crime number JA/11/423. Alternatively if members of the public
wish to remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800
555 111. The
public can also contact the RSPB on 0845 466 3636. All information is handled
in the strictest confidence. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for
information leading to a conviction.